Saturday, October 2, 2010

Idris Jala, the Cheerleader

It has been two months plus since I went to a MIMKL Toastmasters meeting and this morning when I stepped into their meeting, I was really glad I came. And that too, at the prompting of Grace Chan and husband, Vince whom I met at a Maxis Toastmasters meeting on September 21 – where she was the General Evaluator. Anyway, with 40 people attending – you can expect a meeting overflowing with energetic exuberance. I was the Evaluator for Alia Nadhirah, who after her speech titled “The Orchestra” finally completed her Competent Communication manual. I must admit here that she is one Toastmaster whom I have always enjoyed listening to. Oh yeah, I was voted Best Table Topics Speaker and Best Project Speech Evaluator.

Idris Jala’s insistence that the Economic Transformation Programme’s (ETP) mega projects will spur growth towards Vision 2020 has not completely convinced analysts and politicians – at least according to The Malaysian Insider yesterday. They are doubtful as to whether the government’s ETP, which promises a heavy commitment from the private sector, would be able to transform Malaysia towards a high-income economy by the year 2020.

Political analyst Dr Lim Teck Ghee described Idris as a “cheerleader” appointed to rouse support for the ETP without “having a full understanding of the economic issues and problems in the country”. Lim called this ETP plan “a kind of a dream scenario”. Well, wadya expect? Most government officials spend their waking hours shuffling papers, going for the mandatory tea breaks, burying their heads in endless departmental meetings and engaging in a lot of whimsical daydreaming.

I am reminded of the management functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. In a Malaysian government bureaucracy, four major activities as detailed above are also self-evident.

Electronics maker Foxconn Technologies that came under intense fire for their working practices after a string of worker suicides, has decided to up salaries by two-thirds at their Shenzhen factory. News agency Xinhua quoted company spokesman Liu Kun as saying the roughly 66% pay rise for assembly line workers, the second this year, would bring salaries to 2,000 yuan per month. It starts from this month. This increase would benefit about 85% of workers at the Shenzhen factory, the report added (Star, October 02, 2010, p SBW14). Is this new salary what economists would call a “living wage”?

No comments: